By Brian Love and Mike Householder
WASHINGTON – A Potomac man was sentenced to 12-and-a-half years in prison Friday after pleading guilty to defrauding fellow inmates and Maryland homeowners.
While serving time in federal prison in New York State on previous fraud charges, Michael Clott, 44, defrauded prisoners of more than $450,000, according to the U.S. attorney’s office for Maryland.
After his release in 1994, Clott moved to Maryland, where he used a mortgage scheme to take $2.5 million from homeowners, the U.S. attorney’s office said.
Judge Frederic Smalkin said during sentencing that Clott’s criminal activity could not be stopped “short of isolating him from all contact with humanity, like putting him on a desert island.”
Smalkin recommended that Clott be closely watched while in jail, including restricting mail, phone and computer privileges, and be supervised for five years following release from prison.
In 1992, Clott was in federal prison in New York when he began taking money from fellow prisoners.
Evidence presented at the sentencing hearing stated that while in jail he defrauded inmates and their families in a mortgage scheme.
After his release in 1994, Clott convinced several people to sign equity checks, gained from the sale of their homes, over to him. He deposited the funds but never extended the promised lines of credit.
“It’s important for us to stop [people like] that because so many people are left without anything,” said Lynne Battaglia, the U.S. attorney for Maryland.
Clott was convicted twice in 1987, of mail fraud in connection with another loan scheme and of mortgage fraud. In 1989, he was convicted of bank fraud while in a halfway house awaiting transfer to a federal prison. Clott’s attorney, Christopher Mead, did not return repeated phone calls. -30-